Center-left Opposition Rides a Solid Lead Into Israeli Election

Israel's center-left opposition is poised for an upset victory in national elections next week, with the last opinion polls before the March 17 vote giving it a solid lead over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's party. Polls in two of Israel's leading newspapers predicted the Zionist Union would secure 25 or 26 seats in the 120-seat Knesset (ka nesset), against 21 or 22 for Likud. (Lih kood) All polls in the past three days have given the same margin of victory. No party has ever won an outright majority in Israel's 67-year history, making coalition-building critical to the formation of a government.